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Technology and Talent are Key Differentiators for Maximizing Business Value of BPO Engagements

by Simon Sammons, Global Offerings Director, Accenture Operations

A select few companies – about one in five, according to the Accenture 2015 High Performance BPO research – have cracked the code in terms of getting the most from their outsourcing arrangements and can be classified as “high performers.”  While these high performers share similarities, we found the two characteristics that stand out most are their approach to leveraging technology and their investment in talent. 

Based on a survey of 296 respondents representing BPO buyer organizations with revenues of more than $500 million, our findings revealed that advanced technologies such as automation, analytics, cloud and mobility now separate the best BPO relationships from typical ones. In fact, 69 percent of high performers said gaining access to technology in a BPO relationship was important, while only 27 percent of typical performers agree. 

In addition, companies are realizing that insufficient investment in people has reduced the value delivered from BPO initiatives. Overall, more than 75 percent of high performers cited the importance of the provider’s BPO expertise as critical to their success, compared to only 38 percent of typical performers.

In this environment, providers’ technology-enabled processes and talent, in both retained organizations and among BPO providers, are proving to be powerful value multipliers. It’s this mindset – viewing BPO as a value multiplier, rather than a process substitute—that enables businesses to experience transformational value. Through the implementation of innovative technologies, high performers are able to help humans apply their distinctive skills, such as discernment and judgement, to various aspects of work.

We have termed this distinction of using technology to clarify how and when distinctive human skills can be used as the “pyramid of work.” Here’s a further look at each layer:

Bottom Layer – repetitive, task-based transactions which can be replaced by automation technologies. This increases speed, accuracy and standardization, removing subjectivity and enabling repeatability. It also increases productivity by eliminating process steps, letting operator process transactions by the hundreds instead of in tens or twenties. 

Middle Layer - the critical spectrum of analytics capabilities. The high performers identified in our research use data and information from the services of a BPO engagement to capture additional business benefits. Outsourcing providers with a mature analytics capability can deploy algorithms, models and statistical analysis to measure the right key process indicators, identify process weaknesses and opportunities, and redesign processes to deliver measurable business outcomes. 

Top Layer - insights and expertise. While new technologies and innovations are changing the current BPO model, they are also changing the kind of talent that providers need to deliver the greatest value to clients. This means that buyers and providers alike should focus on the skills that higher-value BPO talent can deliver, such as industry expertise and high-demand analytics skills. 

BPO is rapidly changing from a commodity and transaction-based focus to a one centered on business outcomes. The key to developing a value-based approach is to not only to capture the data, but also use automation, analytics and talent to generate both insights and foresight. In doing so, companies will be in a position to make better business decisions, reduce costs, increase revenues and also position themselves among the select group of high performers that are leading the charge in the quickly evolving arena of BPO.

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Accenture Operations specialises in igniting essential processes for its customers and illuminating new pathways towards sustained growth.

For more information regarding Accenture Operations, visit the company’s website.


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